Our Story

Our Mission

To educate the public about the nutritional and economic benefits of buying locally grown food directly from farmers, and to connect and support communities and agriculture.


Our Goals

To Support Regional Sustainable Producers by Providing them with Direct Access to Consumers
AIM currently manages eight Certified Farmers Markets in the Bay Area and represents over 500 family farms, specialty food purveyors, and artisans. We are committed to quality over quantity when it comes to farmer markets and are working diligently to build the most productive markets for our participating members that best reflect the communities they serve.

To Educate the Public about the Nutritional and Economic Benefits of Buying Locally Grown Food Directly from Farmers
AIM believes the success of the small family farm depends on eaters who understand the value and joys of local agriculture. AIM’s market-based educational programs include Market Tours, Eat Local 101, EBT Outreach and Greener Markets. Our Farm to Fork distribution program has significantly expanded AIM’s reach, enabling 40 schools, restaurants, corporate cafeterias and catering services in Marin and San Francisco to source and promote locally grown food to the community at large. AIM’s media-based educational programs include a monthly e-newsletter sent to over 5,000 readers, an educational advertising campaign sharing the stories of our farmers that has run in two dozen local publications since 2006, and a comprehensive website.

To Unite Farmers and Communities & To Build a Pavilion Dedicated to Local Agriculture
The Pavilion will be more than a building. It will serve as a community hub where local farmers, ranchers, specialty food purveyors, artisans, agricultural organizations and the public will come together under one roof.

The seeds of our dream:

  • Permanent year-round facility dedicated to local agriculture and designed to provided infrastructure for our Thursday and Sunday Marin Farmers Markets
  • Retail promenade with a bakery/cafe, butcher shop with locally sourced meats and fish, local cheese & dairy shop, specialty grocery & restaurant
  • Commercial kitchen where eaters can learn and our farmers and food purveyors can grow their businesses
  • Demonstration garden and educational farm, to teach children of all ages about how food grows
  • Expanded Farm to Fork distribution program; advocating to the county’s businesses, government offices, hospitals and schools to source locally grown food
  • Business incubator and training program to help local farmers diversify their production
  • Home for our partner agricultural organizations in need of an outlet on the Hwy 101 corridor in Marin County
  • Programs that support and facilitate a model sustainable food system, which can be replicated in communities nationwide

Our Story

Our first farmers market opened in 1983 at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael on Thursday mornings. It was the first Certified Farmers Market in Marin County, soon followed by our Sunday Marin Civic Center Farmers Market – now the third largest farmers market in California. In 1987, Marin Farmers Markets (MFM), then Marin County Farmers Market Association, was established as a non-profit organization for the mutual benefit of the farmers and consumers. As the demand for farmers markets grew in the 1990’s, MFM began facilitating farmers markets in neighboring communities throughout the North Bay and East Bay. In 2006, MFM gained its 501(c)(5) non-profit status with the IRS as an agricultural membership organization.

Marin Agricultural Institute (MAI) was founded in 2004 by MFM as a 501(c)(3) sister organization to further the public benefit goals of MFM. These goals included the creation of a permanent home for MFM’s markets in Central Marin and the expansion of education and advocacy programs related to food and agriculture in partnership with other local organizations.

In 2009, MFM members voted to merge MFM and MAI into one 501(c)(3) public benefit organization, Agricultural Institute of Marin, as of January 1st, 2010. The marriage of MFM and MAI will enable our organization to more effectively serve the family farmers, specialty food purveyors, artisans, and communities we represent. We look forward to growing with you all!


So what is a Certified Farmers Market?

A Certified Farmers Market is approved by the County Agricultural Commissioner for certified farmers to directly market the products they grow and raise themselves. When Farmers Market regulations were established by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in 1977, there were only a handful of Certified Farmers Markets in the state. Today, there are nearly 600 Certified Farmers Markets and 2,200 certified producers in California.


Awards

  • Best Organic Produce: Pacific Sun 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007
  • Best Farmers Market in Oakland: Oakland Magazine, 2011, 2008, and 2007
  • Best Farmers Market: North Bay Bohemian Best of the North Bay 2012
  • Environmental Stewardship Award for “Painting the Community Green,” North Bay Leadership Council, 2008
  • Award of Excellence in Agricultural Viability: Marin Economic Commission, 2008
  • One of the Top 500 North Bay Companies: Biz Magazine, 2008
  • Best of the East Bay Award: East Bay Express, 2012, 2010, and 2008, Grand Lake Farmers Market
  • John Paul McPhail Green Business Award for “creating a vibrant and successful local open air market”: Marin Conservation League, 2008
  • Market Manager of the Year: National Association of Produce Market Managers, 2007
  • Spirit of Marin: Small Business of the Year, 2009
  • Leader of the North Bay Presented by the North Bay Leadership Council in 2008
  • Sunset Readers Love Us!: Sunset Magazine, 2012